Thursday, September 23, 2021

Trial to carry on, come what may, says judge in 1MDB case after Najib no-show

Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah says the former PM should have had the courtesy to attend court before his meeting with the Agong.

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The judge presiding over Najib Razak’s 1MDB trial today appeared unhappy after the former prime minister failed to turn up for proceedings, ordering him to be in court at 2.30pm.

Najib’s lawyer Rahmat Hazlan had informed justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah that his client, together with other 114 Barisan Nasional MPs, was scheduled to meet Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah to back the nomination of Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob for the post of prime minister.

“We are not sure what time my client is scheduled to meet the king, but he is leaving the World Trade Centre (WTC) at 10.30am. I was told that he is now in a meeting there and at any point in time, he could be called up to meet the king because the interview is done one by one,” said Rahmat.

Upon hearing this, Sequerah, who seemed upset after hearing about Najib’s absence, insisted that the trial go on.

“He (Najib) should have had the courtesy to come here first. From the news report I have read, it said the meeting with the king would be in batches.

“This case is ongoing. I will be back in 10 minutes and I want to know exactly what time he will be meeting the king. After he is done with that, he has to be back here for the trial to continue. I may not even stop (the trial) at 4pm today,” Sequerah added.

After a short break, Rahmat again informed the court that he would provide updates on Najib’s whereabouts after receiving them from Najib’s officers.

In response to this, Sequerah said Najib needs to commit to a specific time as the trial must carry on at 2.30pm.

“Please keep me informed because I intend to carry on, come what may. Be prepared to go over time because we have lost so much (time).

“All of us have duties to perform. If the king summons, he has to be there but from what I understand, he does not have to be there the whole day. I need a commitment on what time, the window he has to be there (at the palace) and to give his views to His Majesty and come back here (for the trial),” said the judge.

Yesterday, Najib applied to the court for his morning session trial to be cut short as he needed to attend a critical meeting at the WTC at 11am in connection with the choice of candidate for the prime minister’s post.

Sequerah allowed his last-minute application on grounds that the importance of the meeting was to achieve a resolution of circumstances over the country’s current issues. He also ordered the case to continue at 2.30pm.

Najib, 68, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial continues at 2.30pm.

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